Study: Dead Tree Carbon Emissions Underestimated

By on May 5, 2015

Dead wood in Borneo. (Credit: Marion Pfeifer / Imperial College London)

Researchers from Imperial College London report in a recent press release that global carbon emissions may be higher than previously thought, due to the exclusion of dead wood in previous estimations of carbon discharge.

It was assumed in many emissions estimates that once trees were logged, dead trees would be removed quickly and contribute little to carbon emissions. In many cases, however, researchers found that dead wood was not necessarily removed from forest floors.

Because live trees act as carbon sinks and dead trees release carbon into the atmosphere, the presence of dead wood can contribute to carbon emissions. Researchers found that dead wood was not removed due to the increasingly common practice of selective logging, wherein only the most valuable trees are removed from forests.

Top image: Dead wood in Borneo. (Credit: Marion Pfeifer / Imperial College London)

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